Important Facts:

  • Community, staff, and public safety input led to a 2022 risk assessment report from Codentity and Navigate360. Based on the expert assessment reports, the proposed bond funds will be used solely for safety and security improvements.
  • The existing operating budget cannot address the necessary security needs for our school buildings in a timely fashion. 
  • A ZERO mill tax rate increase would maintain the current tax rate (0.85 mil) for Petoskey district residents.
  • Common Proposed Bond-Funded Projects for security + safety inside and outside of school buildings, based on the expert recommendations, include:
    • Secure entrance vestibules
    • Interior and exterior doors and hardware upgrades
    • Temporary door lock-down-devices
    • Security film at classroom entries from corridors and windows
    • Electrical upgrades
    • Exterior lighting for safety
    • Security cameras
    • Access Control for doors and windows
    • Security Technology Enhancements that include public safety communication
  • Bond Scope of Work Budget: 
    • Petoskey High School................$4,500,000
    • Petoskey Middle School............$2,300,000
    • Lincoln Elementary School.......$2,100,000
    • Central Elementary School.......$2,800,000
    • Ottawa Elementary School.......$2,600,000
    • Sheridan Elementary School....$3,600,000
    • Administration Building............$   200,000


Like all public schools, Public Schools of Petoskey are primarily funded locally through voter-approved tax millages. 

Vote by November 7, 2023. Absentee voting available September 28, 2023.


What is the 2023 Bond Proposal?
A school bond election is a bond issue used by a public school district to finance a building project or other capital project. These measures are placed on the ballot by district school boards to be decided by the voting public. 

The district has an opportunity to improve safety and security for the district and for the building infrastructure. Proposed projects include: 


  • Secure entrance vestibules
  • Replace interior and exterior doors and hardware
  • Install door lock-down-devices
  • Add security film to doors and windows
  • Install exterior lighting for safety
  • Upgrade security cameras
  • Improve playground equipment
  • Upgrade parking lots
  • Upgrade the fire alarm systems
  • Improve access control and building management systems
  • Enhance security technology that includes public safety communication

Would my taxes increase if the bond proposal is approved?
If approved, the ballot proposal would allow the district to sell bonds and generate approximately $18.1 million with a zero-mill increase over the current millage rate of 0.85 mil.

What is a mill?
A mill is equal to $1 per every $1,000 of taxable property valuation (not the market value of a home; homeowners can refer to their latest assessment for their home’s taxable value). 

Why does the district need a bond proposal?
Due to the size and scale of our school buildings, safety and security updates to our facilities are costly and typically not possible through the traditional funding received by school districts. Our district has numerous safety and security needs requiring large sums of money. A bond proposal is the best approach to making the significant updates and improvements needed at the Public Schools of Petoskey in a timely manner.  The last bond proposal put before the Petoskey district voters was a successful election in November 2014.

Why is this important now?
Our Petoskey schools are well maintained, yet they require renovations and improvements for students to continue learning in safe and secure environments. Unfortunately, the existing operating budget cannot address the cost of all necessary renovations to our buildings.

This fall, we have a unique opportunity to generate $18.1 million in bond funds with a ZERO mill increase to the current tax rate. Our hope is to minimize the tax impact for Petoskey residents while addressing district safety and security. The projects would not take from general fund money, so student programming can continue to be our priority.

How are Michigan schools funded?
Michigan provides funding to school districts on a per-pupil basis, based on the cost of educating the average pupil per year. Michigan does not provide funding to address facilities, which are funded exclusively through local property taxes. There are two ways that school districts can raise money for facility improvements: levying sinking funds and selling bonds. 

What is the difference between a bond proposal and a sinking fund?
Bond proposals are used to finance major capital projects. The district can borrow money upfront and pay back the bond amount over time.

Sinking funds are provided on an annual basis to address the immediate needs of school buildings, facilities, and surrounding school sites. This is intended for short-term improvements rather than major renovations and upgrades. 

What would happen if the bond proposal is not approved?
If approved, the bond proposal would enable the district to continue to make transformational improvements without sacrificing instructional funds. Failure to approve the bond proposal would mean that the district would have to delay improvements. 

Will our property taxes be reassessed?
No, properties will not be reassessed simply because the bond passes. Under Michigan law, a property’s taxable value will increase from one year to the next by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less, until ownership of the property is transferred. The passing of a school or municipal bond will NOT trigger a new assessment. Again, property assessments are legally required to remain at the rate of inflation (or at 5% whichever is lower), until the property is sold.

How will this affect local businesses?
Just like a homeowner, if the bond passes, a business’ millage rate will reflect the outcome of the bond election just like an individual’s property tax rate would change for that property owner.

What if I have other questions about the bond proposal?
Please email us at



How did this proposal come about? 
Community and staff input led to a 2022 risk assessment report from Navigate360. We also received recommendations from the City of Petoskey’s Department of Public Safety.  Based on the expert assessment reports, the proposed bond funds will be used solely for safety and security improvements.

What are the main goals of the proposed bond scope?
Safety and Security – the safety and security of our students and staff is the highest priority.  Peace of mind in the classroom allows for a more comfortable learning experience. Bond projects include greater control of our building entrances with the addition or renovation of secure vestibules at all district buildings.  

Bond proposal projects include:

  • Create secure vestibules
  • Replace interior and exterior doors and hardware
  • Install door lock-down-devices
  • Add security film to doors and windows
  • Install exterior lighting for safety
  • Upgrade security cameras
  • Improve playground equipment
  • Upgrade parking lots
  • Upgrade the fire alarm systems
  • Improve access control and building management systems
  • Enhance security technology that includes public safety communication

What is the timeline for projects to be completed? 
Our goal is to complete all of these projects within three years. The amount of work being proposed in the bond proposal is significant.  As such, our Construction Management partners believe it to be the best practice to stagger the implementation of the projects. This would allow for greater contractor participation and would not overstress the construction market that currently is struggling with labor availability. Greater participation of bidders means greater competition and hopefully better bid results that will benefit the school district.



Who can vote in this bond proposal election? 
Residents within the Public Schools of Petoskey district who will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day and are registered to vote. Please note, you can register to vote on the day of the election at your local clerk’s office. 

Where can I get information about voting (such as how to register, where to vote, and absentee voting)?
Go to the Michigan Voter Information website or contact your local clerk. 

Where do I go to vote?
If you are unsure of your voting precinct, visit or contact your local clerk. 

Do I need to update my voter registration?
You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can do this at any Secretary of State office or at the clerk’s office where you reside. 

Can I vote by absentee ballot?
Yes. Since voter approval of Proposal 3 in November 2018, registered voters do not need a reason to vote by absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot application from your Clerk’s Office or by going online to and clicking on Vote at Home in the center column.

Absentee ballots should be available to voters after September 28nd, 2023 and may be cast through Election Day.



Isn’t the bond to renew the stadium bond because it’s neither paid for nor maintenance covered? Are there 2 bonds?
No, the 2014 bond to fund the athletic stadium will be paid in full in the 2023 tax year. The November 2023 bond request is a new issuance at the same millage rate (0.85 mil), meaning taxpayers will not see a change in millage. By law, bond funds cannot be used for maintenance. Separate funds are allocated for ongoing facility maintenance and future turf replacement. 

How does the 2023 Safety & Security Bond cost compare to the previous 2014 Athletic Stadium project?
The overall cost of the stadium was approximately $14 million. The 2023 Safety + Security Bond is asking for $18.1 million to fund district-wide improvements related to safety and security.

What is the plan for the current general fund balance? Why not use general fund dollars for these improvements?
The district’s general fund balance currently stands around $9.7 million, which represents 27.2% of the district's annual $35.7M budget. While currently large by historical standards, much of this fund balance has been committed to fund educational needs of our students and is needed to maintain cash flow. The Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO) recommends districts carry 15%-20% of revenue as fund balance. The general fund balance is insufficient for the proposed safety and security improvements.

How was the bond scope developed?
The district received community and staff feedback regarding safety and security and subsequently engaged professionals specializing in school safety to assess facilities. The results of these assessments, conducted in 2022 and 2023, detailed numerous procedural and physical security needs. This bond was developed to address the needs identified in the assessments. The district further engaged an architect and construction manager specializing in K-12 construction in Michigan to develop and budget conceptual solutions as the basis for the bond scope.

After 13 years, how will the software and technology upgrades be paid for?  
Software updates are not an allowable expense using bond funds, and are not included in this bond proposal.  We will update the technology with sinking fund monies. That is an allowable expense based on our ballot language

What does a secure vestibule mean? 
A secure vestibule, as envisioned by the district for all school buildings, allows visitors to the school to enter a vestibule, and then only allows them access to enter the school office through a defined doorway, prior to accessing the building at large.  In this way, visitors are both welcomed and vetted by in-person school office staff to assist with the purpose of their visit, address issues, and chaperone or direct their next steps into the school.  This entryway design eliminates visitors having direct access to the school hallways without first passing through the secure office and being intentionally released to enter the building.

Are the buildings getting all new doors or just door/boot locks?  
All school buildings that do not have current code compliant and / or current standard door locks (thumb turn with visual indicator) will be updated.  This process varies based on what the existing door condition is (currently acceptable, hardware only, full door & frame replacement). Based on our internal count, we need to upgrade the hardware on 335 interior doors, connect 173 exterior doors to the Building Management System, and install the Night Lock System on 239 classroom doors. 

Describe the relationship between the general fund, sinking fund, and bond-related expenditures:
School districts in Michigan are funded in multiple ways, with funds having specific allowable uses. General Funds are received from the State of Michigan on a per-pupil basis and largely fund staff, administration, operations, and maintenance. The sinking fund passed in 2018 levies and collects an annual property tax assessment. These funds are intended to update technology and facilities. They’ve largely kept the district's roofing, paving, and heating systems in good condition. Bond funds are designated for specific improvements and are generally used for one-time projects that are too large to be supported by general or sinking fund dollars.